Course Overview

** Please click on the link at the bottom of this page to acknowledge your receipt of the course overview. **

This course overview page is not exhaustive, but it does address the important and main points for your convenience. 

Mantra: We are going to have a great year! We will learn, grow, respect and love one another as students, friends, and G/T family.

Classroom Expectations/Norms:
Be a Respectful, Positive Participant
Be Able to Acknowledge your Strengths and Weaknesses
Be Prepared for Success and Failure, both provide Opportunities for Growth
Be Willing to Grow as a Person and as a Student

Helpful Student Forms: Blank Calendar – Homework Tracking Sheet – Dialectical Journal Format

GT Gr8 Novel List

Overview: The GT Pre-AP ILA course is (district) designed to be rigorous and challenging. Oftentimes, according to former students, this is the first course in which students are asked to provide thinking that is their own and goes beyond the textbook, worksheet, and/or teacher knowledge. All students will encounter learning that will challenge them. *Remember the story of my Open Water Scuba Diving Certification.  Those students who are organised, motivated, and who persevere (most importantly) will excel because of their inner drive and grit. Being a reflective learner is key to growth and success. Smarts are what you gain because of the hard work and effort you put into your learning and education.

Syllabus and Policy: Hard copies of the syllabus will not be sent home with students. The classroom policy and syllabus (curriculum) are driven by the district and campus. Classroom expectations are determined by the students in accordance with the Student Handbook. 

Grading: major – 50%; minor – 30%; daily – 20%; late work policy has been updated for Maus.
Weekly (Home)Work: These assignments are begun in class and might have to be completed out of class over the course of the week/weekend and are due the following Monday, unless noted otherwise. Because of the rigor and the pace of this course, students who procrastinate or underestimate the time required to complete an assignment might find themselves falling behind or late with their work. If a student waits until the night before something is due to complete the work, this is insight into how the student managed one’s self in class. Even if no specific homework is assigned, students are highly encouraged to review and reflect on the day’s learning for at least 10 minutes. There are new studies that suggest 8th grade students have no more than 80 minutes of homework each night. In Ms. Caskey’s class, 95% of all work is designed to be completed at school (under my facilitation).
TImed Writing: Each allowable Thursday, students engage in a short, timed-writing activity. Students are given between 15-20 minutes to read, think, and respond to the writing prompt. These prompts are interrelated with the unit studies and also incorporate the stems/vocabulary and grammar focus for the marking period. Students are expected to revisit their writing pieces from Thursday to Thursday. The time for processing is provided so they can “see” how well they respond in a timed setting and to work towards improving their writing skills. This is a minor grade at the end of each six weeks.
Independent Reading and Response: Each allowable Friday, students engage in silent sustained reading with a novel of their choosing for approximately 15 minutes. At the end of the reading time, students are given approximately 10-15 minutes to respond to text, engaging in an internal conversation about a particular quotation or passage from their novel. Students are encouraged to read novels that will challenge their reading level and ability and cause them to read more deliberately and thoughtfully, which lends to more thoughtful dialectical journal responses. Students are expected to revisit their responses from Friday to Friday. This is a minor grade at the end of each six weeks.

BYOD: The use of devices is used as needed in this course to enhance learning, but it is to be used in accordance to the district/campus BOYD policies. Google Docs (Drive) & Student Email:
Username: firstname.lastname.last3digitsofstudentid (maus.mountainlion.123)
Password: birthday in 8 digits (08252014)
Student’s email address: Google Docs Username followed by (

Course Syllabus Acknowledgement:
Parent Guardians and Students – Please click here to acknowledge receipt of this information. If you have any questions, please contact me at


Thank you,

Charlotte R. Caskey, M. Ed.                                                                                                                                     

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